From a young age, your parents try to teach you right from wrong. As you grow older you begin to learn those differences for yourself but, what happens when you don't feel right when everything feels wrong or you don't feel anything at all? This is something that I have have been struggling with for the past five months after I unexpectedly lost my Mom. When a major life event like this happens you lose all sense of your sanity and won't know how to feel or what to do. Suddenly telling the difference between right and wrong is a line as thin as a singular strand of hair. In these past few months, I've had to navigate and define for myself what I find to be wrong and right. I don't have all the answers but I do have advice and maybe even a little insight into what it's like to feel right, wrong and nothing at all.
When you feel nothing at all
When we got the call solidifying her death my entire body went numb. I barely shed a tear in the first few minutes of hearing the news. We drove to the hospital and it was in her room that I slid down the wall because I couldn't stand by myself. It was in the coming days of comforting texts and somber greeting cards that I realized what the feeling of nothingness was actually comprised of. The feelings of pain, agony, confusion and probably dehydration all made up the nothingness, at least they did for me. The worst part of feeling nothing is feeling everything so intensely at once that they consume your brain, making you numb to the world. This feeling isn't limited to one day or one week, it has a habit of engulfing you at the worst times. There is no real cure for this feeling, the only way to curb it is to continue forward. You continue your life the best way you can, you take everything one day at a time, and most importantly you must not forget that there is light even in the darkest of caves.
When you feel wrong
There is a point after nothingness when everything just feels off, life in general just feels wrong. It's wrong that you have to deal with the death of a parent at the age of 18. It's wrong that you have to go to school and deal with mixed looks of sympathy and pity. All aspects of your life are just plain wrong. These happenings are inevitable, something that I knew I would have to deal with on top of grieving my Mom. But by far the worst wrong you feel happens when you actually begin to feel right. It's the moments where you genuinely laugh, then feel guilty for it because you're in grief. Occurrences like this one make you feel like the scum on the bottom of a shoe. You hate that you allowed yourself to laugh or smile. I eventually learned that my Mom wouldn't want me to cry all the time and it's okay that I have happy moments. This is one of the hardest lessons that I've had to learn, even five months later I still have pangs of guilt when I have good days but in my heart of hearts, I know she just wants the best for me. Just know it's okay to feel wrong but, don't make yourself feel that way because you think you have to. Let yourself feel right when you can, you'll thank yourself for it later.
When you feel right
My Granddad explained grief like this: There will be good days where you hardly think of her. There will be bad days where she pops into your thoughts often and terrible days where your thoughts are devoured by her. At first, I was confused, why would I want days where I don't think of her? Slowly I realized what he meant, days where you hardly think of someone that you're missing doesn't mean you're forgetting them. You are moving forward in the grieving process and accepting what has happened. I'm having more good days with only positive thoughts of her. Today, as I'm writing this, happens to be a good day and for that I'm thankful. I feel right today. Feeling right doesn't happen overnight and most of the time the feeling is fleeting. You have to allow yourself to feel right. You must let yourself laugh and feel something other than pain. Laughing is healthy, hanging out with friends is especially healthy and supportive friends are essential in healing. It's the momentary feelings of right that will give you the strength to get through nothingness and wrongness. When you feel right, I beg of you, please do not deny what you're feeling. Experience positive emotions in any capacity that you can, they will heal your heartbroken soul.
I'm not going sugar-coat it and say that I'm 100% fine. I have good days, bad days and terrible days. I'm grieving my Mom, the woman who I loved more than I can express. The differences between me five months ago and me now is that I know the following: Numbness is inescapable but it doesn't and won't last forever; the feeling of wrongness comes in waves but that doesn't mean I stop enjoying things I did before like holidays or the food she taught me to cook; feeling right is possible and it's both needed as well as warranted. There is no ending grief, but there is also no giving up. I try to take everything day by day because I have to be okay, in my book I still have many unwritten chapters that are waiting to be filled.